Katelynne Eslick was born and raised in Montana; and has a lifetime of experience learning first-hand about big opportunities in Big Sky Country.
“ Montanans love Montana so much; we’re all so proud of this place we call home.”
Katelynne spent her early years in Chinook, Montana, where father ran the watchmaking and jewelry store her grandfather opened in 1945. Growing up, she was interested in the work her father and grandfather did, but didn’t necessarily see herself following the same path career-wise. Instead, she pursued a business degree - initially studying at Montana State University in Bozeman and ultimately earning her Associate’s from Dawson Community College after making the move to Glendive, Montana due to her husband’s enrollment in Dawson’s law enforcement program.
During Katelynne’s years in Bozeman, she reconnected with jewelry making as a hobby when her four year-old sister asked her to make earrings with her. She instantly fell in love with the creative outlet jewelry making provided, and her handcrafted adornments were soon gaining notice:
“People kept asking me where I was getting my earrings or necklaces, and when I told them ‘I made it’ they would ask if they could commission me to make something similar for them… That was really how I got started in the jewelry making business.”
Katelynne formally founded Sugarplum’s Handcrafted Jewelry in 2006, but jewelry making remained largely a side project until the day in October 2011 when she told her husband that she “couldn’t get all of her orders filled because I have to go to work.” She recalls her husband stopping her in her tracks to point out how ridiculous that sounded - and that it was time to truly take the plunge as an entrepreneur:
“We sat down that night and crunched numbers to figure out how I could leave my job and start my own business…and we decided we could make it happen.”
Katelynne worked for home for the first two years, while simultaneously raising her son and twin daughters. In 2013, she got word that the jewelry store in downtown Glendive was closing - and the timing seemed serendipitous. Katelynne needed more workspace to fulfill all of the orders coming in through Sugar Plum, and her children were all going into school full time that year. She jumped on the opportunity, and began working on the rental paperwork for the jewelry store space.
Within six weeks from signing the paperwork completing the sale of the jewelry store, Katelynne opened the doors of her new downtown retail location under the name Sugar Plum Jewelry Co.:
“It was a huge push - from making enough jewelry and ordering other high-quality pieces to have a strong starting inventory to rebuilding a wall and refurbishing the space. But, this was my dream and I knew I was going to get it done.”
And, get it done she did. Today, the completely bootstrapped Sugar Plum Jewelry Co. continues to sell Katelynne’s handcrafted pieces on one side of the retail space, and carefully sourced, more traditional pieces on the other side. Katelynne also continues to teach herself new jewelry-making techniques in order to stay current with market trends and evolving customer preferences. One of her very unique specialties is a transfer process where she uses actual handwriting, footprints, or handprints and then transfers those into silver to create highly customized jewelry. Another one of Sugar Plum’s specialties is Montana jewelry that allows wearers to celebrate their love and pride for their Big Sky Country roots.
Katelynne’s continual self-education is a natural fit with her entrepreneurial tendencies:
“There’s always so much to learn in the field, and I’m always hungry to learn as much as I can. I love what I do, so I really invest myself in every way possible.”
Katelynne also believes her Montana roots and community have been instrumental in Sugar Plum’s success:
“Montanans love Montana so much; we’re all so proud of this place we call home. My customers are so good to me, and I honestly think that’s an extension of Montana’s mindset of supporting each other.”
Anyone interested in learning more about Sugar Plum Jewelry Co., or seeing more of Katelynne’s fabulous handcrafted pieces can follow her on Facebook.com/SugarplumsJewelry